What makes a marriage–love or compatibility? Passion or pragmatism? Bantwal’s compelling new novel explores the fascinating subject of arranged marriage, as a young Indian-American woman navigates the gulf between desire and tradition.
~ Synopsis from goodreads
Siya Giri is a first-generation Indian-American. She is well-educated woman, in a good job, all is well in her life, except…she’s a thirty year old virgin living with her parents who are looking out for a husband for her. Also, she’s a bit of a plain Jane.
When her parents introduce her to Rajesh/Roger Vadepalli, he turns out to be a surprise, a pleasant one. Meanwhile at work, she meets a man Lou who she is attracted to, but will their cultural differences work against them?
Which man will Siya choose? And this is pretty much the plot in a nutshell.
This book started out as a nice read, but the more I got into the story I felt very uncomfortable. I am trying to think out why this book didn’t satisfy and I think partly it’s me. I usually struggle with these middle of the road type of books that are neither literary or trashy. It’s that rather boring middle ground sort of book.
But another reason the book didn’t work for me was the book itself.
First up, a romantic triangle sort of book needs to have an appealing heroine, which Siya Giri is not. I’m not talking about her looks here, but her whole attitude was whiny, self-obsessed, and self-pitying.
Even worse, was the underlying racism in the book. I don’t want to give away too many details, but the attitudes of the Indians in the book towards African-Americans was dismaying. I suspect that many Indians actually feel this way, and that the author has captured them accurately, but if the book’s intention was to get me to like Siya and her family, it failed miserably. They all came across as racist and materialistic.
Her suitor Roger is more interesting and I liked him very much. However, because Siya’s character is so very unlikable, it’s hard to figure out why he is so interested in her in spite of her very visible character flaws. That aspect of their relationship could have been drawn out more. As such, their whole relationship seemed very rushed and superficial to me.
Overall, I think the narrative didn’t work for such a type of book. It would have probably read better if the book was written in 3rd person or using different points of view giving the reader a better understanding of the relationships portrayed in the book.
As it stands though, this book although well-written was just about OK for me.
Huge thanks to Fingerprint Publications for sending me this book for review consideration.
You can also purchase a copy of this book from Amazon